Dead Confederate Live

23/2/11
Dingwalls,
Camden, London

deadconfederateFirst up tonight are Kettering quintet Blacklight Pioneer, who deal in an angular art-rock sound with a certain melodic sheen. They’ve been compared to 90s alt-rock mavericks Mansun, and whilst the two bands do share some common ground, BP’s more radio-friendly sound calls to mind more current reference points – a good or bad thing, depending on how you see it.

Dead Confederate, on the other hand, prefer to serve up their tunes with lashings of all-out sonic warfare; kicking off their set with a steadily building, hypnotic wall of distortion that would surely get the Kevin Shields seal of approval. Whilst their sound owes plenty to the leading lights of the late 80s/early 90s grunge scene, the addition of John Watkins’ swirling organ provides a great foil to the fuzzed-up guitar action that has proved a trademark of the DC sound.

The band themselves don’t move too much thorughout their live set, with singer/guitarist Hardy Morris pretty much anchored to the microphone for the duration of their set. He’s clearly happy to hide behind the mop of hair that’s plastered to his face, and when the feedback briefly subsides for the surprisingly catchy ‘Run From The Gun’, he cuts a confident yet reticent figure – not unlike that of a certain alt-rock hero from the early 90s.

Still, with an album as good as last year’s ‘Sugar’ under their belts, they’re more than welcome to invoke the old ‘let the music do the talking’ cliché. Their set doesn’t really end in the traditional sense; rather it gradually dissolves amidst torrents of wailing feedback and strobe lights, and frankly, it’s hard to imagine a finer way to be blasted out of a post-work daze. Keep an ear out for these guys.

Alex Gosman

Watch the video for Giving It All Away here.